Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Economy's Fucked. News At 11.

I'm going to bookmark the article and read it later because it's long. It's highly (read MetaFilter) recommended.
But I wanted to share this little wrap he puts on it under the heading Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction Dept.
In 2005, Porsche began to buy shares in Volkswagen (I know that sounds the wrong way around), to help it ward off a foreign takeover. They kept buying shares over the next three years, and as they did so the share price rose. As it did so, the remaining Volkswagen shares, obviously, kept becoming more expensive, so it became clear that Porsche wouldn’t be able to afford to buy all the rest of them and take full control of the target company. At the same time, prospects weakened for the global car industry. The hedge funders took out their crystal balls and concluded that this meant Porsche would stop buying shares, and so the share price would fall, and they began to short Volkswagen stock. So far, so routine. But what they didn’t know was that Porsche was secretly using Germany’s not so transparent rules to accumulate more and more shares, until 26 October 2008, when Porsche announced that it now owned 75 per cent of Volkswagen, i.e. pretty much all the publicly tradeable stock – most of the rest was, for various reasons, locked up in places where it couldn’t be sold. At which point, the hedge funds shat themselves. Remember, all those shorted shares were borrowed, and had to be bought back and then returned – but where were the hedge funds going to buy the shares to return them, since there was now no stock on the market? Answer: they’d have to pay whatever the seller wanted to charge. In 48 hours, Volkswagen’s share price went from €200 to more than €1000. Hedge funds lost £24 billion betting against Volkswagen and Germany’s fifth richest man, Adolf Merckle (b. 1934, cement, pharmaceuticals), threw himself under a train.

If One Republican Loser

(see Carly Fiorina) can't manage your company, maybe another one can (see Meg Whitman).
Would I pay any attention at all if they weren't both women? Debatable.
Definitely not Honorary Contrariennes.

Elizabeth Warren For President 2016

I'm looking for the bumper stickers now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two, Count Them, Two

Honorary Contrariennes. I've seen Randall on Charlie Rose a few times and, God help me, wondered — as with Samantha Power —how it is that one can be a beautiful blonde and still achieve such status. Bad Julie, bad Julie.
And then there's Carolyn Porco. Hadn't heard of her until MetaFilter clued me in a few days ago.
More reading to do now, dammit.

Dear Followers

I had no idea until today that there were five of you. It's kinda nice to know you're out there. Guess I should be more prolific. But I'm curious. What happens once you become a follower? Do they tell you when there's a new post? Cuz that would be cool. Otherwise, I'm thinkin' what good is it except for my vanity. Do you think I should ask my FB friends to be followers? Or would they then get spammed with every post? I mean there was a time when I did 20 a day, now I'm thinkin' 20 a month would be a lot. FB sort of became my new Contrarienne, shortened version, but only because I play a lot of Lexulous and Scrabble.
Any feedback?

The Teenage Brain On ... Life

You've probably heard that the brain continues to mature into the early 20s, but haven't read much about it.
This month's National Geographic devotes a cover to the topic, and here's an exchange between a neuroscientist, the author and others.
I'm bookmarking this and I've just reserved Barbara Strauch's book about us fogies.
As if I didn't have a big enough pile on the counter.